Greenmarkets as Economic Development

We are very, very close to getting two new greenmarkets in my neighborhood, the Upper East Side. This is something I have been working on since October. However, I have started to hear rumblings that there may be opposition to the locations choosen.

Food is a $20 billion market in NYC. Today, the NY Times today showcases how Union Square has become a food paradise, with a Wholefoods, great restaurants and a new Trader Joe's, largely because of the enormous greenmarket located there. Instead of allowing a race to the bottom on price, it raised the level of competition, established a good minimum standard for quality food in the area and people flocked to the area from other places. I know many people in my neighborhood who travel by train all the way down there just to get good quality food at reasonable prices.

Besides the local benefits to the community, greenmarkets help support local farmers by letting them make more money on their produce than if they sold to a distributor. This helps preserve open space (preventing suburban sprawl) and brings the lines of food supply closer to home. Both will be important as the energy crisis continues to worsen.

Greenmarkets can serve as local economic development engines in urban areas and influence smart development outside the city limits through our purchasing power.